According to a recent study, eye color might be genetically linked to alcoholism, as both features seem to be located on the same chromosome.
The study was conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Vermont, led by Arvis Sulovari, a molecular biology doctoral student and Dawei Li, PhD, who is an Assistant Professor at the Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Department.
The research was performed using a complex database that Dawei Li has constructed over his time at the University of Vermont that included genetic data from over 10,000 patients who were suffering from at least one psychiatric disorder. As Li points out, the field of psychiatry has very intricate paths, because rarely does a person suffer from one single disorder.
These patients usually suffer from several affections at the same time, therefore it becomes rather complicated to find the right categories to assign them to. From the 10,000 patents who were included in the database, only 1,263 subjects were selected for the eye color-alcoholism study.
Then, the scientists looked very closely for the linking pattern between the eye color of the subjects and their level of alcoholism and they realized that it is quite a bit more than a coincidence that people with blue eyes and other bright colors end up suffering from a more significant form of alcoholism.
It seems that both the genetic material that dictates the color of the eye and that which produces a predisposition for excessive alcohol consumption are located closely on the same chromosome.
“This suggests an intriguing possibility — that eye color can be useful in the clinic for alcohol dependence diagnosis,” says doctoral student Arvis Sulovari.
He points out that their findings are insufficient to produce a solid conclusion on the matter, but that there is a link between these two features that is worth looking much deeper into.
If this connection is confirmed by further data, then alcoholism could be monitored much better in the future, as it could contribute to new diagnostic tool and treatment options for those who suffer from alcoholism.
However, it should be mentioned that the study does not suggest that all people with blue and green eyes are alcoholics, but rather that they are more prone than dark-eyed people to develop the condition, in the right circumstances. The influence that free will has over the matter remains a strong influence.
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